Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Mars & Venus on Erev Pesach Cleaning

Mars & Venus on Erev Pesach Cleaning.
(or, why my wife, the Mrs. @ The Muqata is totally going to kill me)

Men and Women are totally different. Different, and not necessarily equal either. My wife is much better at multi-tasking a million different events at once (cooking, cleaning, work, kids, laundry, etc.), while I can parallel park in my sleep, fix all sorts of electrical and mechanical problems, and sleep without being woken up by the soft cry of a baby.

Even the loud cry of a baby usually fails to bring me out of a deep sleep, and it’s the powerful shove out of bed from my wife that wakes me up (the dull thud of hitting the floor usually works).

So we’re totally different, and we have a variety of roles & responsibilities to make our marriage work.

However, there are times which can try any marriage, one of the most harrowing being “The Erev Pesach” era.

Starting the day after Purim, Jewish women around the world start the mad rush towards cleaning our homes for Pesach. Jewish men more or less continue on blissfully with whatever it is they usually do, somewhere knowing in the back of their mind that Pesach is approaching.

Women clean the house…and cook for Pesach…and buy food…and take care of the kids (who in Israel, start their vacation a week before Pesach)…some also work in addition to all of the above.

And what do guys do?

Err….lets think. We do a lot! I vacuum out the cars…hmmm….my oldest son did that this year. I ordered the hand shmura matza! Well, actually no, I just agreed on the amount we needed to buy…and my wife took care of it

OK, I’m going to sell the chametz! That’s something I’m definitely capable of taking care of.

Let’s face it. Men, are totally pathetic when it comes to really helping for Pesach.

But then, when we’ve come to this brutal realization, there are those of us who add insult to injury, and do what no self-respecting Jewish husband should ever do.

The week before Pesach, “business trip”… (Thank G-d I'm not the only one)
Last week at the Muqata...

Jameel: Hi Honey, I’ve got some really awful news…

The Mrs.: Really, What’s wrong?

Jameel: Remember how I was supposed to go to the US on business last month, and how happy we were that the trip was cancelled? Well, I have to fly to LA for a few days.

The Mrs. (in a frosty voice): Really? Only a few days?

Jameel: Well, leaving motzei Shabbat, returning home on Friday.

The Mrs.: Exactly. Just like every other time estimate you ever give; multiply any time guesstimate by 2 or 3…you say you're leaving the office at 6:00…and “out of the blue” you have a phone call which keeps you at the office till 6:30…by the time you get out of the parking lot its 6:45, don’t forget the traffic which never seems to happen when you WANT to be home on time…and voila. You’re home promptly at 8:15…just in time for Maariv. So “a few days” turns into an entire week.

Jameel: But at least I’ll be home for Shabbat!

The Mrs.: How is it that EVERY single year you manage to “have” to be sent on business the week before Pesach?

One of the kids “picks up” on the conversation, and they all rush in cheering: “YAY! Abba’s going to America! Abba’s going to America! Please buy me a new cellphone, buy me a new RAM card for my MP3 player…I want a new zip-zap car…can you get me this…buy me that…”

Jameel: I’m only going for 2 days…I won’t really have any time to buy stuff for you.

The Mrs.: Yeah, Two days. Motzei Shabbat to Friday equals 2 days…

Jameel: Fine, 2.5 days, but there’s all the travel overhead! Its 19 hours of flying time each way!

Kids: (upset) You’re going to America for a week and not buying us anything?!?!?!

So…I fly to the land where the streets are paved with electronic gadgets and great sales….while my tzadeikes of a wife is left with the kids…the cooking…the cleaning…the laundry…and her own full time job…and I fly off to the US.

When I speak to my wife on the phone after landing, its like treading on Styrofoam cups…

Jameel; Hi – how are things? I just landed and called to say hi…

The Mrs.: OK, (sounds very tired)…how was your flight?

Now what the heck am I supposed to answer? That I slept for 8 uninterrupted hours, watched a movie, blogged about something, and did some work? That the business class food was very good, the wine was good, and the chair was more comfortable than our LAY-Z-BOY chair in our living room?

Jameel: (answering very gingerly) Well, the flight was OK, I slept for 8 hours….

(Survey Says: BUZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!! Wrong Answer!)

The Mrs.: 8 hours? It must be so nice sleeping 8 hours without getting woken up by any kids…

Jameel: Yes – but it was awful! One of the movie channels wasn’t working, and I already saw most of the other ones the last time I flew…

(Survey Says: BUZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!! Wrong Answer!)

The Mrs.: Must have been awful.

Jameel: How's the house cleaning going? Are the kids being helpful?

(Survey Says: BUZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!! Strike 3 – Wrong Answer!)

The Mrs.: Why? You expect the house to magically clean itself and you’ll arrive home after your “business” trip and everything will be ready for Pesach???

Let's face it. It's very hard to work it out every single year...time after ensure that I fly away on business the week before Pesach.

Guys: A word to the wise. Don't believe everything in the "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" books. Women can be very Mars-like, and like most Israeli citizens, are very good shots with automatic weapons.

That's why I locked up my M16 before leaving to America....

On the other hand, I really love my wife alot, and she knows I had nothing to do with planning this trip. And I feel incredibly guilty for being away from home this week....but I can't even send this to her for approval, because she'll say, "you're on a business trip, and yet you're blogging again?!?"

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


Anonymous said...

Hilarious-and sooo true.What about when we tell them that its pesach cleaning and not spring cleaning.They look at us as though we were 'kofer beikar.'

bec said...

dear mrs.@the muqata,
please remind jameel that he owes you the following this year:
36 gift certificates to any of israel's assorted spas for beauty and relaxation treatments of your choice
meals for 12 shabboses prepared for the shabboses of your choice
meals for any random holidays prepared to your specifications
two whole days (24 hours) worth of pre-pesach preparation, to be divided as you wish. this includes, but is not limited to: windows, toilets, scrubbing, and any other preparations (grating onions and potatoes for kugels and whatever else.)
six other demands of your choice for the time specifications of your choice.

you are amazing!!! i would go crazy if my husband went away the week before pesach.

and jameel,
don't ever forget that your wife is a super amazing tzadeikess. you should sing aishes chayil to her seven times every shabbos, that's how amazing she is.


Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

ahem, NYC?

Anonymous said...

Jameel, superb post.

What about when we tell them that its pesach cleaning and not spring cleaning.They look at us as though we were 'kofer beikar.'

Two women once went to Rav Chaim Scheinberg's pre-Pesach lecture, where he outlined the Halachic requirements for Pesach cleaning, emphasizing that it's about Chametz, not dust. After the lecture, one woman was overheard saying to the other - "No way am I eating at his house!"

Chana said...

This was hilarious. Hehe. I think I'm like your kids. "Daddy, daddy, can you buy me..." and there comes the list.

By the way, from your previous post...I love the word psychedelic. Love. And we liked that fizzy orange drink and lemonade drink we had while we were in Israel. What are those again? Just Orangina or something?

Anonymous said...

Guess what, Jameel...I sold the chametz already too yesterday :-) But noone did your van, you can do that one! (and your brother in law changed the light bulb upstairs but another one burned out which I'm saving for of your specialties)

Jameel @ The Muqata said...


Thank you for selling the Chametz! And I'll take care of the van on Sunday...thanks for saving the light bulb! Makes me feel wanted :) (I hope...)

BEC: I never forget that my wife is a tzadeikes! I think Eishet Chayil 7 times would make the kids go crazy, but its something to think about...

Phish: Don't get me started!

Steg: No time this trip :(
(This is the most hectic trip Ive ever had...2.5 days in LA) Next trip - bli neder.

Chana: Thanks! The drinks you are thinking of may be Tapuzina or Miranda...neither of which are much better than Fanta...

Shtender said...

Women can be very Mars-like, and like most Israeli citizens, are very good shots with automatic weapons.

LOL. :)

MUST Gum Addict said...

I agree with most of the post Jameel. Especially the parts about us husbands who happen to take vacation often -- I mean, who travel on business so often. The conversation you have with your wife could easily be adapted for some of my conversations with my wife when I'm on the road.

However, when it comes to pesach cleaning and preparations, I think that I help quite a lot (as do some other men I know). I do help clean, and it's my job to kasher the entire kitchen. My wife always says, if not for me, we'd be eating chametz on pesach... lol

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Must Gum: Of course I help...but it's impossible to use the words "help alot" compared to the amount of work my wife does.

Its not like I'm @ home now and blogging instead of helping clean for pesach. I'm away from home in my hotel room, blogging, when I should really be home helping clean for pesach.

Now that we've cleared that up, I'm going to bed.

Litvshe said...

True...all true.

Me: Dear, I need to go to Chul this week.
Her: When are you leaving and when are you coming back.
Me: Hmmm. Monday morning...coming back Tuesday night.
Her: In otherwords, you leave for the airport Sunday afternoon and will return home Wednsday afternoon.
Me: *thinks about it* - Yeah, more or less.

That seems to be the gist of most of my "I need to travel" conversations.

Anyway, I took the car to the carwash. I'll bake the matzos. I'll show up to the seder.

tafka PP said...

Oh my- So alongside everything else she has to do, you (one of the most hyperactive bloggers in the world, not just the jblogosphere) ask Mrs@themuqata PROOFREAD EVERYTHING YOU EVER POST?!

Mrs@themuqata deserves a VERY large gold medal! (Or the spa treatment idea of Bec's was a good one too.)

Shifra said...


You'd better come home with something for the Mrs. - even if it's just your well rested self ready to dive in and do anything and everything she needs you to do. Your wife must be one amazing woman.

Pragmatician said...

three out of three, not bad.
I bet this conversation is mirrored all over the world as we write.
Now where's your cleaning lady in all of this? Please tell me you have one...

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

TAFKAPP: I'm really really really not connected at all to the non JBlogosphere...and I try not to ask the Mrs to proofread all my posts ;-)

Shifra: Yes, she is an amazing woman! I will do my best to sleep on the plane going home as much as possible, so I can be well rested and start helping the second I land.

Pragmat: Thats a really sore point... I wish our combination British Nanny/Babysitter/House Cleaner would come back from the UK. She was the best! Thinking about it now in retrospect, I wonder if it was our house that made her leave the country in the first place.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Swiftthinker: Did my wife ask you to write that?!?!

Elie said...

OK, you have encouraged me to come out of the (cleaned) closet. I am the one mainly in charge of Pesach cleaning in my house! Of course Debbie and the kids do their parts, but I organize the whole shebang and do the plurality, if not majority, of the actual cleaning.

In defense of my masculity, I have the whole thing organized on the computer with charts, schedules, deadlines, etc. which is a very male approach to the job.

Debbie is definitely in charge of the shopping and cooking though!

rockofgalilee said...

I ordered the matzas this year.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Rock: We're very proud of you! :)
(though I didn't even manage to do that either this year)

Elie: Wow...Kol HaKavod. Though the gantt charts, pie graphs, milestones and dependencies sound like a new product: Microsoft Pesach Project 1.0

(Thats one project you can't slip the deadline on!)

FrumGirl said...

Wow, lol. Ok first of all great post!

But you crack me up.... It's like you know you are getting away with murder and can't say it outright so you put it out there in this roundabout way - making sure the Mrs. will get the idea that you feel bad and it was out of your hands but at the same time do I detect that you are enjoying this turn of events? Naughty!

Your wife seems like an amazing person, you are very lucky! I am sure you spoil her when you are around... spoil her VERY much!

Love the Mars/Venus angle. Although I personally don't believe in that methodology completely, it does make for entertaining reading!

Anonymous said...

That was the most guilty post ever... And for anyone who had doubts, I can attest to the fact that Mrs. Jameel Muqata is a super duper tzadeket.

S.I.L. said...

someone in my office put up a sign that says "Dust is not chametz and your husband is not the Korbon Pesach."

Anonymous said...

Way too funny!

I remember going to visit a relative visiting from Israel, he came down to the lobby of his Hotel whereupon he was stopped by the concierge with "Mr.M____, you have some packages." The concierge then wheeled out a luggage cart nearly filled to the top with boxes of shipped products. My relative looked at me and quipped: "Apparently, the internet is working!"

I guess when the kids get older, they don't bother asking you for things from the states. They simply order them online and have them delivered to your hotel.

Anonymous said...

Are there any Pesach products that are available in the states and not in Israel? Seems counter-intuitive that there would be, but, if so, you could make a point of purchasing them. Maybe there are some cleaning products that you should buy, and then make good use of yourself upon returning home?

Anonymous said...

It's funny- my husband's away on a business trip, too! For the whole week, including Shabbat. Coincidence? I think not.

When I spoke with him tonight, he told me all about his fancy sushi dinner. (I had cold pancakes).

I'm saving the oven cleaning for nori boy...

Anonymous said...

Eshet Chayil:

Perhaps I was unclear. I was suggesting that the cleaning product was for Jameel, not his wife, to use. First, I thought he could help a little with Pesach shopping while on his trip if there were some special items available in the states but not Israel, such as a non-perishable treat. Then, I was offered that he could not only procure a special cleaning product but also use it himself to perform Pesach cleaning upon his return. Perhaps his unfortunately-timed trip could be beneficial in some small way to the process of making or to his family enjoying Pesach.

Scraps said...

To answer Anonymous above...There are TONS of kosher l'Pesach products available in the US that aren't available in Israel. For instance, anything made with cottonseed oil (which for some reason, some poskim in E"Y hold to be kitniyot). Also, there are many things which the Badatz doesn't certify for Pesach, not because they can't, but because they just don't want to. Also, in Israel there are tons of things that are labeled "kosher l'Pesach l'ochlei kitniyot", while in America everything's marketed toward Ashkenazim.

Jameel--good luck! I hope that the Mrs. isn't too hard on you when you get home.

Anonymous said...


Some advice from a friend: Don't even think of bringing home Pesach food (especially things that need to be prepared) unless you're willing to prepare it yourself. Over a campfire in the woods where you're staying 'cause you've been locked out of the house.

And it might be wise to skip the movie and practice your groveling on the flight home. It might come in handy.

Jack Steiner said...

If you really want to have some fun you can come home and explain how you were engaged in all of the really hard work, while she was able to take it easy at home.

And I can verify, I saw you working. He did, really, I was there.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Hi People!

I'm currently flying way over the Atlantic ocean at 30,000 feet...and reading your comments is slightly scary! I didn't bring back any pesach cleaning stuff...or pesach food from the US.

However, I did get some totally cool stuff for the kids (as instructed to, by the Mrs.)

For now, the best present I can give is to help as much as I can when I get home. So, instead of blogging a new article, Im going to sleep so I'll be able to be as helpful as possible in the morning.

(is that grovelling enough?)

I'll be back blogging again next week (but only after the kida re sleeping, and the every day's pesach taks have been completed).

[right now, the Mrs. is definitely thinking to herself -- "yeah right, I'll believe it when I see it")

Shabbat Shalom everyone!


Anonymous said...

my husband does as much cleaning as I do. I do the organization and charts though. He does some cooking too :-) Feel lucky Jameel.

Aliza said...

My husband pulled the same nonsense, only his was miluim and he's gone for 2.5 weeks!!! I hope that you bought your wife something nice at duty free...

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